Crohn’s Disease

Introduction to Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It causes inflammation, that can occur anywhere along the digestive tract, however it is most common in the colon and ileum. The inflammation typically spreads into the layers of the intestinal tissue. It is often very painful and can lead to dangerous complications.

Crohn’s Disease symptoms

Crohn’s Disease symptoms range from mild to severe and typically develop gradually. Frequent symptoms include fevers that last 1-2 days, diarrhea, fatigue, abdominal pain, blood in the stool, reduced appetite, canker sores, clubbed fingernails, and thickening of the GI tract. Inflammation comes and goes. In later stages, it can form fistulas and abscesses (little canals that lead to other organs). If it becomes serious, surgery may be recommended.

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Crohn’s Disease treatment

The exact cause is unknown but it is suspect that immune issues and heredity are the main contributors. There is no known cure for Crohn’s Disease, but with therapies and habit changes, signs and symptoms can help bring long-term remission. Anti-inflammatory drugs (corticosteroids) are commonly used as a first step in Crohn’s disease treatment. Drugs that target the immune system TNF inhibitors, azathioprine, mercaptopurine) and antibiotics (ciprofloxacin and metronidazole) are also often prescribed.

Crohn’s Disease diet

With frequent diarrhea and abdominal pain, it can be difficult to have the motivation to eat, and for the intestines to absorb enough nutrients. If surgery is required, it is important to know which part of the intestines were removed in order to recognize which nutrients are not getting absorbed.

Your doctor may recommend low fiber as a Crohn’s Disease diet in order to reduce intestinal blockage. Common nutrient deficiencies are low iron and vitamin B-12. Certain foods and beverages can aggravate signs and symptoms, especially during a flare-up. Keeping a food diary and exploring what causes symptoms is highly recommended, with consideration of limiting these foods: dairy, high fat, fiber, spicy foods, caffeine.

Crohn’s Disease signs

The main Crohn’s Disease signs and characteristics are abdominal pain and diarrhea. Other signs to watch for include: bleeding, fever, weight loss, nausea or vomiting, malnutrition, bone loss, and growth failure. Crohn’s can also influence psychological state including an influence on depression, anxiety, and body image.